Match Preview: Essex v Kent


Essex v Kent

Vitality County Championship
The Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Friday 12 – Monday 15 April | 11:00am start

Having secured a season-opening 254-run victory away to Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, Essex return home to face Kent in their first competitive home game of 2024.

Sam Cook was the standout performer for the Eagles in Nottingham, claiming a hat-trick in the first innings and 6-14 in the second to complete match figures of 10-73.

Dean Elgar and Jordan Cox also enjoyed productive debuts for Essex, hitting 80 and 84 respectively in the first innings, though the hosts did gain a 40-run advantage after both sides had batted once.

However, 79 from Paul Walter and Matt Critchley’s 68 helped the visitors fight back from a perilous position in the second dig to set Notts 335 to win.

Cook and Jamie Porter then did the rest, sharing nine wickets to skittle the hosts for just 80 and confirming Essex as the only Division One side to win a game in the opening round of matches.

Anthony McGrath’s men will now aim to back up that sterling performance with a homecoming against arch-rivals Kent.


Head Coach McGrath has named a 13-man squad for this fixture, with one change from last week’s trip to Nottinghamshire.

Adam Rossington misses out with a fractured finger sustained in the game at Trent Bridge.

The Inside Line: Dean Elgar

Ahead of the game, Dean Elgar discussed his debut 80 away to Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, his excitement to play in front of the Essex fans and Members, and how he is settling in to life at Essex.

Watch the full interview above.

The Opposition

It would probably be fair to say that Kent endured rather than enjoyed the 2023 season, winning just two games and avoiding the drop on the final day by only seven points.

Having finished the season with 111 points after a draw with Lancashire, their attention anxiously turned to Trent Bridge, where relegation rivals Middlesex were attempting to bowl out Nottinghamshire.

With the hosts ultimately triumphing by a nail-biting two wickets, Kent breathed a sigh of relief as the Seaxes were condemned to the drop instead.

Those two wins both came against Northamptonshire, the other team to be relegated, so there is a need in 2024 to replicate those victories against other opponents if they are to avoid the drop again.

England opener Zak Crawley will not be available, but new captain Daniel Bell-Drummond, who hit an unbeaten 107 in their first game against Somerset last week, remains a prolific run-scorer.

Experienced all-rounder Joe Denly also made 110 in the season opener, while young all-rounder Joey Evison, who moved from Nottinghamshire in 2022, continued to deliver on his promise with 85.

Kent squad: Daniel Bell-Drummond*, Wes Agar, Ben Compton, Joe Denly, Joey Evison, Harry Finch, George Garrett, Nathan Gilchrist, Fred Klaassen, Jack Leaning, Tawanda Muyeye, Matt Parkinson, Grant Stewart.

Last Time We Met

Essex are undefeated in their last nine first-class Battle of the Bridge matches, a run stretching back to 2015, and recorded a dominant win the last time the sides met in red-ball cricket in July last year.

Despite losing the toss and having to field first, Essex bowled Kent out for 207 in their first innings, with Jamie Porter and Sam Cook sharing six wickets.

A century from Matt Critchley then underpinned an Essex response of 458-8 declared, as Alastair Cook hit 87 and Simon Harmer struck 83 from just 91 deliveries.

Harmer then bowled 44.1 overs to return 4/72 in Kent’s second innings, with Sam Cook also taking 4/46 as the visitors were dismissed on the final morning for 280 in spite of 114 from Harry Finch.

With the dark clouds swirling ahead of a forecasted downpour, Essex had precious little time to knock off the 30 runs needed to win, opting to send out Dan Lawrence and Adam Rossington to open.

Hamidullah Qadri claimed the wickets of Rossington and Critchley, but Tom Westley and Paul Walter teamed up to ensure a seven-wicket win inside just four overs before the rain arrived.

Division One Table

How To Watch

If you are not able to make it to The Cloud County Ground in person, the game will be streamed live on the EssexCricketTV YouTube channel and available to watch via the Essex Cricket Matchzone.

A report and reaction will be published on the Club website after each day’s play via the Club website, while live updates and daily highlights will be provided on the Club’s social media channels.


Members of both counties are free to sit in any available and vacant seat, though the Doug Insole Pavilion benches and blocks 1-14 and 27-31 are reserved specifically for their use.

Meanwhile, general admission advance tickets are priced at £16 for adults, while young adults aged between 18 and 25 can buy at any time for £12 and under-18 tickets cost just £6.

A family ticket, covering two adults and two children, costs just £35, while a four-day ticket covering the entire match can be purchased over the phone for £44.

Please note that these two types of ticket are only available in advance of the fixture, and that individual adult tickets will rise in price to £20 if bought on the day.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 01245 254010 or by visiting the link below:

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex return to shortest-format action in Chelmsford from Sunday 02 June.

Demand remains exceptionally high, and there is now just one Friday night fixture with availability remaining, the visit of Glamorgan to The Cloud County Ground on 07 June.

With the Eagles aiming to go one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Sunday 02 June, 4:00pm: Essex v Middlesex – buy here
Friday 07 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Glamorgan – buy here (LAST FEW TICKETS)
Friday 14 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Sussex Sharks – SOLD OUT
Thursday 20 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Hampshire Hawks – buy here
Friday 05 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Somerset – SOLD OUT
Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here